EEOC Issues Updated Guidance For Specific Disabilities


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued information on protection against disability discrimination in the form of four revised documents. The federal agency issued these guides, which are included in the EEOC’s “Disability Discrimination, The Question and Answer Series,” consistent with the EEOC’s Strategic Plan, which aims to provide timely guidance on antidiscrimination laws. 

The expanded coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) has raised more questions in the workplace and these updated documents will provide employees additional guidance with regard to cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities. The documents provide specific examples of permissible and impermissible inquiries, which are issues on which supervisors frequently need or should be given guidance. The revised guides also address issues such as under what circumstances employers may make medical inquiries and which types of reasonable accommodations employers should offer disabled employees. The documents also address issues such as confidential medical information and offer a good analysis of concerns about safety and reminders about harassment and retaliation. 

While the information is not expansive, it is easily understood and offers enough information to provide additional guidance to employers. The EEOC provides this information with regard to both applicants and current employees and spells out for the employer appropriate actions under the specific circumstances. 

The documents each offer a discussion of the particular condition and why it is likely to be considered a disability. The discussion of intellectual disabilities is particularly helpful because it defines an intellectual disability as being “characterized by significant limitation both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior that may affect many everyday social and practical skills.” (Emphasis added.) This characterization by the EEOC may provide added detail that employers will find helpful. 

From a practical standpoint these documents can provide employers and human resources professionals an excellent resource when issues arise on these specific conditions—which have each presented more issues since the implementation of the ADAAA. 

Kathy Dudley Helms is a shareholder in the Columbia office of Ogletree Deakins.


Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.